Microlearning: Leverage Bite-Sized Courses to Improve Training

by Libby Bevin on January 31, 2020

Microlearning can help public sector agencies improve training efforts. Learn how this approach fosters employee skill development and career success.

Article Highlights: 

According to Gartner, “approaches to learning are stubbornly stuck in the past — too episodic, too rigid, too slow, too expensive and out of sync with today’s needs.” Luckily, this doesn't have to be a problem at your agency.

Microlearning is a training format that supports improves the employee learning experience by reducing the length of individual training courses and the volume of content communicated in each lesson. This way, information is presented in small, digestible pieces so employees can learn and retain it faster and more accurately.

Why Your Agency Needs Microlearning

Microlearning improves training by cutting down on the time needed to establish new policies and reinforce existing ones – which explains why it's gaining steam in all types of organizations. According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, bite-sized learning courses make "the transfer of learning from the classroom to the desk 17% more efficient.”

What's more, given that 75% of employees believe that their organization doesn’t have an effective learning culture, it’s no surprise that agencies are rethinking how they provide new skills training.

The problem with long-form training

The average employee's attention span is decreasing, making longer content less effective. Philipp Lorenz-Spreen of Max Planck Institute for Human Development explained the increasing volume of content “exhausts our attention," while the urge for "newness" drives people to jump from topic to topic more frequently.

The need for effective employee training in the public sector cannot be overstated.  Baby boomers are retiring at exponential rates, and new generations often fill their open roles with little to no institutional knowledge of processes, best practices, or compliance requirements.

The benefits of short-form training

There are many benefits of microlearning that make it a great vehicle for implementing and communicating timely, meaningful, and relevant content to your employees:

  • It reduces the potential for information overload.
  • It makes lessons easier to remember, and when you’re developing it from scratch.
  • It’s faster to produce from scratch, which means you can also roll it out more quickly. 

Because microlearning courses are designed to take only a few minutes, they have minimal impact on an individual’s workload and are less likely to be delayed. You can also create tighter deadlines for learners, with less pushback and fewer excuses.

Types of Microlearning Materials

Now that you know why your public sector organization should leverage microlearning to improve employee training, you probably want to know what educational materials you can create using this approach.

Here are a handful of examples of content that could benefit from a microlearning structure:

  • How-to guides
  • Skills training
  • Soft skills development
  • New policy communication
  • Process overviews

If you want to see how effective microlearning is for yourself, watch this microlearning course from NEOGOV’s growing library of resources:


Final Thoughts

In addition to microlearning, there are many other ways to make your employee training more effective. Discover more things your agency can do to improve training and career development for your employees today. 

Libby Bevin

Libby Bevin is a content writer and editor for NEOGOV. Libby earned a Master of Arts in English Literature and Language from Wake Forest University and a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from Stetson University. Contact Libby at lbevin@neogov.net.

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